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Thrasamund's effigy on a silver denarius coin Denarius of Thrasamund.jpg
Thrasamund's effigy on a silver denarius coin

Thrasamund (450–523), King of the Vandals and Alans (496–523), was the fourth king of the north African Kingdom of the Vandals. He reigned longer than any other Vandal king in Africa other than his grandfather Genseric.

Vandals East Germanic tribe

The Vandals were a large East Germanic tribe or group of tribes that first appear in history inhabiting present-day southern Poland. Some later moved in large numbers, including most notably the group which successively established Vandal kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula, on western Mediterranean islands and in North Africa in the 5th century.

The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity.

Thrasamund was the third son born to Genseric's fourth son, Gento, and became king in 496 after all of Genseric's sons and his own brother, King Gunthamund, had died. Upon Gunthamund's death, he was one of only two living grandsons of Genseric, and inherited the throne in accordance with a law enacted by his grandfather, which bestowed the kingship on the eldest male member of a deceased king's family.

Gento was the fourth and youngest son of Genseric, the founder of the Vandal kingdom in Africa, and father of the vandal kings Gunthamund and Thrasamund. Gento died in battle in 477.

Gunthamund King of the Vandals

Gunthamund, King of the Vandals and Alans (484-496) was the third king of the north African Vandal Kingdom. He succeeded his unpopular uncle Huneric, and for that reason alone, enjoyed a rather successful reign.

Theoderic the Great married his widowed sister Amalafrida to Thrasamund, providing a dowry consisting of the promontory of Lilybaeum in Sicily, and a retinue of a thousand elite troops and five thousand armed retainers. [1] Herwig Wolfram believes this happened in 500, "immediately after his [Theoderic] Roman tricennial". Despite this alliance, Thrasamund failed to aid Theoderic when the Byzantine Navy ravaged the coast of southern Italy, preventing him from coming to the assistance of King Alaric of the Visigoths in the Battle of Vouillé, which contributed to Alaric's defeat. [2]

Amalafrida, was the daughter of Theodemir, king of the Ostrogoths, and his wife Erelieva. She was the sister of Theodoric the Great, and mother of Theodahad, both of whom also were kings of the Ostrogoths.

Sicily Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

Herwig Wolfram is an Austrian historian. Professor emeritus at the University of Vienna, from 1983 until 2002 he was Director of the Austrian Institute for Historical Research. He is considered one of the foremost experts on the history of the Germanic tribes and his works on the Goths and the Germanic peoples are widely cited by historians across the globe.

Procopius describes a battle between the Berbers of Tripoli under Cabaon and the Vandals, in which the Berbers used unusual tactics to defeat the Vandal cavalry. [3] In the final year of his reign, the important port city of Leptis Magna was sacked by the Berbers.

Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent late antique Byzantine Greek scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, and the Secret History. He is commonly classified as the last major historian of the ancient Western world.

Berbers Ethnic group indigenous to North Africa

Berbers, or Amazighs, are an ethnic group of several nations mostly indigenous to North Africa and some northern parts of Western Africa.

Tripoli Capital city in Greater Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.158 million people in 2018. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country, from his residence in this barracks.

Thrasamund also ended many years of persecution of the Catholic Church which had begun under his uncle Huneric, a move which improved the Vandals' relations with the Byzantine Empire. Procopius states that he was "a very special friend of the Emperor Anastasius." [4]

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Huneric King of the Vandals

Huneric or Hunneric or Honeric was King of the Vandal Kingdom (477–484) and the oldest son of Genseric. He abandoned the imperial politics of his father and concentrated mainly on internal affairs. He was married to Eudocia, daughter of western Roman Emperor Valentinian III (419–455) and Licinia Eudoxia. The couple had one child, a son named Hilderic.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Thrasamund died in 523 and was succeeded by his cousin Hilderic, the firstborn son of Huneric.

Hilderic King of the Vandals

Hilderic was the penultimate king of the Vandals and Alans in North Africa in Late Antiquity (523–530). Although dead by the time the Vandal kingdom was overthrown in 534, he nevertheless played a key role in that event.

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5th century Century

The 5th century is the time period from 401 to 500 Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE) in the Julian calendar. The 5th century is noted for being a period of migration and political instability throughout Eurasia.

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Odoacer 5th-century Germanic soldier and monarch

Flavius Odoacer, also known as Flavius Odovacer or Odovacar, was a barbarian statesman who deposed Romulus Augustus and became King of Italy (476–493). His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Gesalec Visigothic king

Gesalic, Gesaleico in Spanish and Portuguese, Gesaleic in Catalan,, was a king of the Visigoths from 507 to 511, and died in 513. Although the illegitimate son of Alaric II, he had been elected king by the Visigoths after Alaric had been killed in battle by the Franks. Alaric's only legitimate son, Amalaric, was a child and too young to rule.

Theudis King of the Visigoths

Theudis, was king of the Visigoths in Hispania from 531 to 548. He was the sword-bearer of Theodoric the Great, who sent him to govern the Visigothic kingdom during the minority of Amalaric, the son of king Alaric II and Theodegotha, the daughter of king Theodoric.

Eudocia or Eudoxia was the eldest daughter of Roman emperor Valentinian III and his wife, Licinia Eudoxia. She was thus the granddaughter on her mother's side of Eastern emperor Theodosius II and his wife, the poet Aelia Eudocia; and on her father's side of Western emperor Constantius III and his wife Galla Placida.

Sack of Rome (455) 455 sack of Rome by the Vandals

The sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome; it was conducted by the Vandals, who were then at war with the usurping Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus.

Eugenius of Carthage Tunisian saint

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Godas Gothic nobleman

Godas was a Gothic nobleman of the Vandal kingdom in North Africa. King Gelimer of the Vandals made him governor of the Vandalic province of Sardinia, but Godas stopped forwarding the taxes he collected and declared himself ruler of Sardinia.

Gaiseric, also known as Geiseric or Genseric, was King of the Vandals and Alans (428–477) who established the Vandal Kingdom and was one of the key players in the troubles of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. During his nearly 50 years of rule, he raised a relatively insignificant Germanic tribe to the status of a major Mediterranean power.

Vandal Kingdom Kingdom existed in North Africa from 429 to 534

The Vandal Kingdom or Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans was established by the Germanic Vandal people under Genseric, and ruled in North Africa and the Mediterranean from 435 AD to 534 AD.

Cabaon was a Berber chief of Tripolitania in the beginning of the sixth century, known essentially by a rather long passage in the Vandal War of Procopius.

Mauro-Roman Kingdom

The Mauro-Roman Kingdom was an independent Christian Berber kingdom centered on the city of Altava which controlled much of the ancient Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis, located in present-day northern Algeria. The kingdom was first formed in the fifth century as Roman control over the province weakened and Imperial resources had to be concentrated elsewhere, notably in defending the Italian Peninsula itself from invading Germanic tribes.

Kingdom of the Aurès

The Kingdom of the Aurès was an independent Christian Berber kingdom primarily located in the Aurès Mountains of present-day north-eastern Algeria. Established in the 480s by King Masties following a series of Berber revolts against the Vandalic Kingdom, which had conquered the Roman province of Africa in 435 AD, Aurès would last as an independent realm until the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in 703 AD when its last monarch, Queen Dihya, was slain in battle.


  1. Procopius, De Bellis III.8.11-13. Translated by H.B. Dewing, Procopius (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1979), vol. 2 p. 77
  2. Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths, translated by Thomas J. Dunlap (Berkeley: University of California, 1988), p. 308
  3. Procopius, III.8.15 - 29; translated by Dewing, vol. 2 pp. 77 - 83
  4. Procopius, III.8.14; translated by Dewing, vol. 2 p. 77
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of the Vandals
Succeeded by